Thursday, February 19, 2015

How to Survive This Snowy Winter Season


The Mid-Atlantic States such as DE, MD, NY, NJ, PA, VA, WV and Washington DC use the largest amount of natural gas and heating oil in the United States. Due to the unusual amount of snow that has fallen this winter season energy prices have increased. Many East Coast residents lost power for several days due to the winter storms that rocked the East Coast. The Federal Government and many school systems were closed due to the snow storms.

Some East Coast residents were snow bound due to high snow drifts, cars covered in snow and the painful recovery from digging out from previous snow storms this winter. Since many residents had "cabin fever", more energy was used during the past two months than usual this winter season and has reduced the United States' supply of natural gas and heating oil. The upper East Coast areas were hit the hardest in areas such as Boston and Upper New York State. Boston had several feet of snow during this winter season.

Down south in places such as Texas, North Carolina, Alabama, Atlanta, Kentucky and Tennessee experienced snow and ice storms. Many others across the country experienced flooding in their homes and frozen pipes. Galvanized and copper pipes freeze more easily than plastic pipes.

Some plumbers advise wrapping pipes in hot towels and duct tape, newspaper or foam insulation. Others suggest using hair dryers to unthaw the pipes but to exercise caution. Another option is to turn the heat a higher setting and to speed up the thawing out process, position a space heater or a heat lamp at the section of wall that is housing the frozen pipe. You can also go to a home supply store and buy a heat tape or pipe heating cable which contains electrical wires. Plug the heating cable into an outlet. When the wires heat up they help to warm the frozen pipe. The cost of fixing a broken water pipe can range from $500 to $5,000 depending on where you live and the extent of the damage.

Most home insurance companies will cover damage resulting from a frozen pipe if you can provide proof that you took preventive measures to stop the pipes from freezing. Here are 7
ways to save money on energy costs during a snowy winter season.

1.      Pipes. Replace worn pipes with plastic ones. At night, leave faucets on a small drip during extreme cold temperatures. Purchase insulation jackets or pipe insulation to prevent pipes from freezing. Check pipes daily to ensure there are no cracks or bulges in pipes which would indicate they are freezing.
2.      Heat. During extreme cold temperatures turn up the thermostat as needed even if it will cost you more in heating costs, this will prevent your pipes from freezing which can cost more than a monthly heating bill. Adjust the temperature and timer on your thermostat to higher settings.
3.      Appliances. Don't overload washers or dryers, this causes the appliance to use more energy and increase energy costs. Run appliances at off-peak times, on the weekends or Monday-Friday after 7pm to save money.
4.      Electronics. Unplug computers, heaters, televisions, and other electronics when not in use.
5.      Clothing. Wear additional clothes during the day to prevent turning up the thermostat during normal cold temperatures. Open blinds or curtains to let sunlight in during the day to keep the house warm.
6.      Insulate. Cover drafty windows with plastic insulation. Cover drafty doors with insulation or a throw rug.
7.      Bathing. Take showers instead of baths to conserve heating costs. Use luke warm water when taking showers.

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